Receiving VDL Mode 2 with MultiPSK and the RTL-SDR

The VHF Data Link mode 2 (VDL2) is a new transmission mode used on aircraft for sending short messages, position data (similar to ADS-B) and also for allowing traffic controllers to communicate to pilots via text and data. VDL2 is intended to eventually replace the standard ACARS modes. It is found at 136.975 MHz.

Recently, a wiki page explaining how to decode VDL2 using MultiPSK, Planeplotter and the RTL-SDR has been put up. MultiPSK is a sophisticated software program that can decode a wide range of amateur radio digital signals as well as several professional modes like VDL2. To decode most professional modes like VDL2 however, the paid version of MultiPSK is required, but a 5 minute per use trial of VDL2 decoding can be used for testing. Newer versions of MultiPSK can now even directly connect to the RTL-SDR dongle.

The wiki page shows how to set up the RTL-SDR dongle on MultiPSK to receive VDL2 signals, and then shows how to connect it to PlanePlotter in order to plot the aircraft positions on a map.

MultiPSK with VDL2
MultiPSK with VDL2
PlanePlotter with VDL2 Data
PlanePlotter with VDL2 Data
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Hi Anonymous
first you should learn how using your computer.
With Win 7 for adapting the GUI you must set the Desk/Monitor to ” WINDOWS CLASSIC “. That’s it.
(R-Click on your Monitor)

Just one comment more: You should use a valid Receiver. I’m using the ICOM R-8500.


Never seen a convoluted POS software with an UI from hell like multipsk before. Just horrible. it also just doesnt work well with windows 7, some menu windows are too small to show all content and cant be resized so it cant be worked at all. it works with rtl dongle but not very well either, input is distortet most of the time and setting a frequency is annoying.


Agreed–MULTIPSK is very capable but one of the most horrid and random user interfaces I have ever encountered. That is the primary reason I refuse to purchase a license.


Absolutely. Awful piece of software to use. If it was more user friendly and the developer could “be bothered” to make the UI a lot more tidy then, yes, I too would buy a license. As it stands it looks like it was developed for use on Windows 95 by a 10 year old.